SAO PAULO, BRAZIL — GE Plastics' distribution unit, GE Polymerland, launched its activities in Brazil on Feb. 14.
GE Plastics wants to encourage South American customers to buy resin from the Polymerland Web site, following the path the company already pioneered in North America.
"Our goal, this year, is to obtain 40 percent to 50 percent of GE Polymerland's regional sales through the Internet," said William Juliano, e-business director at GE Plastics South America. Juliano is responsible for starting up GE Polymerland's regional business.
The Brazilian Web address for GE Polymerland is www.gepoly merland.com.br. The company plans to add local addresses for Argentina and other South American countries soon.
According to Juliano, the portal is starting with 40 regular GE clients, who began using the e-commerce service last year via GE Plastics South America's Internet-sales channel. The unit posted $10 million in Web-based engineering plastics sales in 2000.
GE Plastics has three warehouses in South America — one at its plant in Campinas, Brazil, another at its facility in Tortuguitas, Argentina, and a third that opened last year in Caxias do Sul, Brazil.
In the short term, the company plans to open three more warehouses in Brazil, in the Sao Paulo metropolitan region, Minas Gerais and Manaus.
GE Polymerland will sell GE Plastics' complete product line in South America, plus nylon 6 and 6/6, acetal and polyester from Rhodia SA. In addition to engineering plastics, the portal also will sell polypropylene, polyethylene and polystyrene.
TotalElfFina SA's Atofina chemicals unit will sell its acrylic materials on the site as well but only in the Argentine market.
GE Polymerland is expected to be the highlight of GE Plastics' booth in the Brasilplast show, said Mark Wall, president of GE Plastics South America SA and GE Polymerland South America. The show will be held March 5-10 in Sao Paulo.
GE Plastics invested $5 million in manufacturing, logistics and e-commerce infrastructure in South America in 2000 and will allocate another $7 million in these same areas this year.
Part of the investment was to increase capacity of the Campinas compounding facility by 40 percent, as well as to double GE Plastics' facility in Tortuguitas. Wall would not reveal details on the firm's capacity in South America.